Silay is the 3rd district of Negros Occidental was founded in 1565. Silay became an official city starting June 12, 1957. Silay City has a land area of 214.80 km (82.93 mi) consisting of 16 total baranggays; 11 of which are in Urban division and 5 are in Rural Division. As of 2010, the total population of the city reached 210,560 in the density of 980/km (82.93 mi).
The name Silay is derived from the a tree which grew abundantly in the area. The Kansilay is the city’s official tree. Silay City had been known in the past as the “Paris of Negros” and the “cultural and intellectual hub of Negros” due to the residents’ love for knowledge and works of art, and its collection of heritage mansions built during the height of the Philippine sugar industry’s success, of which Negros was the center. Most notable among these houses is Balay Negrense, the mansion of the son of the first Negrense sugar baron, Yves Leopold Germain Gaston and the Hofile�a Ancestral House built by Manuel Severino Hofile�a for his wife, former Miss Silay Gilda Ledesma Hojilla.
The Bacolod-Silay International Airport
The Bacolod-Silay International Airport, serves Silay City and the City of Bacolod. The P4.37-billion airport is capable of handling all-weather and night-landing operations. Its 2,000-meter (6,600 ft.) long and 45-meter (148 ft.) wide primary runway, and 678-meter by 23-meter taxiways can accommodate Airbus A320 family-size aircraft, and the Boeing 737, while the apron can hold five aircraft at any one time. The runway runs in a direction of 03�/21�. Provisions for a 500-meter (1,600 ft) expansion of the present runway in order to accommodate even larger aircraft like the Airbus A330, Airbus A340 and Boeing 747 are in place.
Silay is 1 hour by air from Manila, 30 minutes by air from Cebu and 1 hour by air from Cagayan de Oro. Commercial airlines operating in the Bacolod-Silay International Airport are Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, PAL Express, Zest Airways and South East Asian Airlines. From Bacolod City, Silay is a 30-minute ride through Ceres bus or via jeepney.
Noted as the Paris of Negros, Silay is known for its cultural and intellectual hub which shows the Silaynon’s love for knowledge and art. The collection of heritage mansions symbolizes the city’s care for its cultural roots. These mansions were built during the height of the Philippine sugar industry’s success which was centralized in the province of Negros.